Kouga Municipality is cementing its partnership with a German municipality to combat climate change and its harmful impact on communities.
A four-man delegation from Ilsfeld, led by Mayor Thomas Knodler, is in Kouga this week to learn more about the region and identify projects on which the municipalities can collaborate.
“Among the challenges we have discussed with our new partners is the severe drought we are facing and its potential impact on our people and the local agricultural sector,” said Kouga Executive Mayor Elza van Lingen.
“Also on the agenda is rising sea levels, which has led to serious beach erosion in our region, and shifting sand dunes, which are a threat both to municipal infrastructure and private property along our coast.”
The German delegation has been visiting Kouga’s water and sewer plants, as well as landfill sites, with waste management playing a central role in sustainable development.
“We also took them to St Francis Bay where they met with stakeholders about the impact that rising sea levels have had on the dune spit at the canal and the coastline in general.
“They will be visiting the Gamtoos Valley today (Thursday) to learn more about our agricultural activities and how the changing climate and drought are affecting this sector,” Van Lingen said.
She said a highlight was a visit to Woodlands Dairy on Tuesday. Woodlands is not only one of the biggest dairy companies in South Africa but has also become known for its commitment to sustainable development.
“We are proud to have businesses such as Woodlands operating in Kouga and excited that we were able to share their best practices with Ilsfeld.”
The German visit will conclude on Friday with a working session during which joint projects will be identified for implementation.
The partnership between Kouga and Ilsfeld was initiated last year and forms part of a German initiative to link municipalities from that country with municipalities in Africa and South America.
The aim is to identify and implement projects with the potential to mitigate the impact of climate change.
The initiative, called “Municipal Climate Partnerships”, is being implemented and funded by the development agencies Engagement Global and Service Agency Communities in One World (Skew) on behalf of the German government.